With the November US presidential elections hurtling towards a nation still reeling from the impact of the COVID-19 coronavirus, Democrats and Republicans alike ran their conventions digitally in the absence of traditional rallies, and the candidates for both parties ramped up their spend on pricey mud-slinging ads.
As Joseph Robinette ‘Joe’ Biden Jr. officially accepted his nomination as candidate for the 2020 US presidential elections in a powerfully delivered speech at the Democratic National Convention, his opponent, the incumbent Donald Trump, blitzed the YouTube homepage with five rotating ads that attracted millions of eyeballs during the event.
It also put out this ‘Past v Present’ spot:
Through editing footage of public appearances by Mr Biden in 2015 to contrast with more recent ones, it shows what appears to be a deterioration in the 77-year-old Democrat’s mental faculties and sharpness, posing the question:
The campaign had received close on 21 million views on YouTube at time of writing.
Mr Trump is himself 74 years old, unusually putting both candidates in the category of those commonly regarded as needing to ‘shield’ during COVID, which hit the United States of America hard.
After it was announced that Kamala Harris, junior United States senator from California, would run as Biden’s vice-presidential nominee, Trump endorsed this ad tagged as: “Phony Kamala and Slow Joe are perfect together!”
President Trump has proved to be a popular butt for energetic criticism of his sometimes startling views, and the former vice-president’s camp is not exactly squeaky-clean when it comes to campaign digs: at the end of 2019 it used the tagline ‘Laughed At’ for a spot showing world leaders – including British Prime Minister Boris Johnson – mocking Donald Trump.
Efforts this year have focused less on cheap laughs and more on emotive ads like this one, ambiguously called ‘Swing’, which highlights Trump’s “failed leadership” and cuts to social spending.
Biden cleverly went on the offensive defence with the Corvette ad, stressing how “it makes you feel in complete control”, and looking forward to driving the 200mph electric model which, he suggested, could be part of revamping the once all-powerful US auto industry.
As President Trump took to the virtual stage for the Republican National Convention two days after holding a rare White House funeral service for his younger brother Robert, one thing was certain – both men are spending hard: Trump lashed out $80 million in the first six months of 2020, while Biden splurged $65 million.
The real fireworks begin on November 3, 2020 when Americans go to the polls.